IT’S almost that time of year again, when holiday makers are stung by massive increases in petrol prices.
Almost inevitable as the sun rising in the east, already high petrol prices jump in the days preceding Christmas.
The inflated prices often last well into January.
Increased scrutiny in recent years has done little to stop profiteering.
As many inquiries which have been conducted in recent years have been unable to pin down collusion by major distributors or retailers.
Yet, there is hope this year for families who have been battered by significant increases in other goods, services and utilities in 2012.
Australian Institute of Petroleum figures released yesterday show the average national unleaded petrol price fell last week by 0.2 of a cent to 143.2 cents a litre.
The metropolitan price was down 0.3 of a cent to 141.4 cents, while the average weekly regional price declined 0.1 of a cent to 146.7 cents.
And analysts are predicting further falls.
Commsec yesterday suggested motorists could expect to benefit as prices fall due to subdued regional gasoline prices and a firmer Australian dollar.
It says a further reduction of two to three cents a litre should filter through during the next fortnight.
The public will remain sceptical, despite the predictions.
Just as the government has been keen to push its credentials in stamping out profiteering based upon hikes in goods and services impacted by the introduction of the carbon tax, it should also remain vigilant at petrol price hikes during the holiday season.
Given the expert opinions and market forces prevailing over these forecasts, the federal government should take an active interest at just how prices vary during the next two weeks.
If prices do rise, motorists deserve an explanation.
It’s unlikely that such an announcement will be forthcoming from the big oil companies.
Given the predictions of price fluctuations are correct, today we call on the government to make those responsible accountable should prices do anything other than fall during the festive season.
Given the increased cost of living, its important that families are protected.